Mago National Park It lies on the eastern sides of a small branch of the eastern Rift Valley (Omo depression), in the South Omo Zone of SNNPRS and located about 530 and 800 km southwest of Hawassa andAddis Ababa, respectively. Drainage The Park is fortunate in possessing numerous rivers and streams, which are by far reasons for the rich wildlife resources of the area. Mago River rises from the northeast highlands of the area and cross the park (north to south) and feeds the Omo River (there are also different perennial rivers like Neri River and other streams, which are tributaries for Mago River in the park. Omo, Mago, and Neri rivers are typical features for the Mago National Park. Wildlife the Park supports a typical bush savanna fauna with 81 larger mammals & 237 species of bird. Among mammals: African elephant, buffalo, lesser-kudu, greater-kudu, duiker, warthog, tiang, lewel’s hartebeests, Oryx, grant’s gazelle, gerenuk, giraffe, cheetah, wild dog, lions, leopards, gureza, common baboon and verevt monkey are common & conspicuous. Access The Park is 800km and 500 km from to the south of Addis Ababa and Hawassa, respectively. The road from Jinka town to the park covers a distance of 34km all weather gravel road. The park has about 200km internal roads, which lead to the different attractions sites of the park. Scenic Value many national & foreign tourists in the Mago National Park commonly visit the following attractions. These includes the Hot Springs, Forest and savanna habitats, the topography (Murssi mountains and the different view points (Vantages over looking the park whole view) along the high way of Jinka-Murssi. Surrounding Community MNP area is also very well-known for its rich cultural diversity, where many elements of the earliest nomadic lifestyles are still continued. Hammer, Benna, Mursi, Ngagatom, Ari, Karo, Body, Kwegu are communities very well known for their traditional culture, lifestyles, colorful body decoration, ceremonies, festivals, rituals, and other living expressions Mago National park occupies the northern end of the small branch of the main rift valley called the Omo trough, a day’s drive south –west of Arba Minch. The park encloses some 2,162 km Square of gently undulating valley floor at about 450 m above see level, bounded on the east, west and north sides by precipitous escarpments that create the spectacular landscapes that visitors see from almost every point in the park. To the south of the park the plain falls gradually away to Lake Chew Bahir. Rising over 2,000 m, above the valley floor at the northern end is Mt Mago, 2528m asl.The Mago river draining the northern highlands is joined at the top end of the park by the usno river and then meanders through the mago plain to join the omo river at the southern end, Near the center of the park the mago is joining the mago the neri feeds a forested swamp that is a vital dry season refuge for elephant and buffalo. The vegetation of the plain is mostly savannah bush and woodlands with isolated, small patches of grassy plain. In the south the bush becomes very dense with shrub height sometimes reaching 6 meters and the canopy cover more than 20%.Along the mago and neri rivers grows a beautiful riverine forest, quite dense in places, providing wonderful, cool places to camp .In the valleys on Mount mago ,the Mursi hills to the west and the Banna hills to the east are patches of quite dense forest. How to get there There is an airstrip near the park headquarters on the Neri River but most visitors travel by 4×4 from Addis Ababa, to the park which is around 825 km, by all weather roads via arba Minch, konso and jinka. The park headquarter is 37 km from Jinka down a precipitous escarpment road requiring a 4 wheel drive vehicle, Ethiopian airlines fly to jinka twice a week. The park is expanding it’s limited network of internal tracks many of which are not passable during the rainy seasons in March and April (main rains)and August and September (short rains ). Camping There are cleared camp sites on the Neri River the park headquarters. These sites have bush toilets and shower,
but you have to take care of your foods from baboons. Wild viewing Mago and omo are the last protected areas in Ethiopia where the visitors can still see herd’s of elephant and buffalo and other large savannah mammals once so numerous along the Great Rift Valley .The Park is famous for its buffalo estimated to number about 2,000 head. A small population of perhaps 200 elephants is resident in the park, giraffe, waterbuck ,bushbuck, lesser kudu, greater kudu, warthog, bush pig, gerenuk, common duiker, lion, leopard, caracal, wild dog, hyena ,jackal, and baboon ,are the most common .The park is on the escarpment .Even though the park has few areas of grassland many species more typical of the open plains are present .Oryx ,lelwel hartebeest ,tiang ,grant’s gazelle ,serval cut and bat eared fox are commonly seen. there are many small mammals too making up altogether 81 mammals species so far recorded .The area is rich in birds with 153 species recorded to date including 4 endemic; the white –winged cliff chat, the black –headed forest oriole, the thick billed raven and the wattled ibis . Although most viewing is done from a vehicle the park offers great opportunities for hiking there are miles of cool riverine forests with a wide variety of wildlife. There are the fringing escarpments with magnificent landscapes ,the steep slopes of Mt Mago and the hot spring at the northern tip of the park in the upper mago valley-at these Offer great experiences for the hiker.